Warhammer: Dark Omen
Developed by: EA Studios
Published by: Electronic Arts
Reviewed by: Ben Ivers
A Warhammer computer game again? (Groan)
The first time that I heard this game was coming out was at the E3 convention in Atlanta in 97 along with the previous released of Warhammer 40,000: Final Liberation, which was to say the least, disappointing. All this happened after the 95 release of the clunky, yet fun, Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat. Needless to say I was beginning to wonder if a good Games Workshop (the company that makes the Warhammer tabletop adventures) game was going to come out at all. Dark Omen succeeded at creating a much-needed real time strategy that's fun and is based on the Warhammer universe.
You are a mercenary named Morgan Bernhardt. You spend your time fighting battles for gold, which is what mercenaries do. You are usually fighting for the Empire, which is the dominant human government in the game. There is a fairly good variety of enemies to come up against, allowing you to fight Orks and Undead. And believe me they are more than formidable foes. You fight your way through over 20 missions to destroy the Undead armies which are plaguing your homeland. Saying any more would give away the plot and I wouldn't want to do that, would I?
The gameplay is pretty simple. The game gives you free camera movement and zooming with the arrow keys, as well as free movement across the fabulous looking maps with the mouse. The maps are 3D rendered with 2D sprites for units. The control of the units is done through the use of the mouse and a control panel at the lower right hand side of the screen. The mouse is used to move units, while using the control panel allows you to attack, use magic, charge, retreat, use range weapons, and boost unit strength. The panel also shows you the unit's threat rating, ammunition, and morale. Units can be equipped with magic items that have varieties of uses like extra defenses and attack abilities. There are about 20 of these such items; which isn't anywhere near the amount in the tabletop game, but you can't have everything. The range of wizard spells is also pretty slim compared to the tabletop game but a nice representation of the best ones are included and serve their purpose well. Occasionally between battles are some nice looking but kind of choppy videos (it isn't your computer) which lay the story out well. Speaking 3D profiles of the characters supply the individual interaction and even pop up in battle to let you tell you valuable information.
In the ways of multiplayer you can play over the Internet, local network, or direct connect. The multiplayer allows you to edit your army's offline and play with them online. The armies can be any of the races involved in the game, Orks, Undead, and Humans. I would like to have seen more on the other races from Warhammer like more Dwarves, Elves, Dark Elves, and Chaos, who are truly very scary. The multiplayer however is a lot of fun and has one advantage over the tabletop game. The fact that this game has no setup time and is real time rather than turn based saves bundles of time allowing more games to be played. Sometimes the connections can get a little unstable and slow especially if you have a slow modem but these are small problems. Overall, the gameplay is very good and the controls can be mastered easily with some practice.
Dark Omen is an overall good game that fulfills the needs of every Warhammer game player. The adaptation from tabletop to a computer game was done well, and the conversion of a turn based game to a real time strategy works nicely. The only complaints are that more magic items and spells be included. Also, more of the races of the Warhammer tabletop game would be better. But overall if you like real time strategy and/or Warhammer games then this is definitely for you.
Our rating out of 10: 8.8
Click Here to Visit our Sponsor
All trademarks are properties of their respective owners